Emily Blunt’s Rita (the Full Metal Bitch) from Edge of Tomorrow took the solid lead in my very short list of favorite female characters in an action movie last year. The only other character on the list was Carrie-Ann Moss’s Trinity from The Matrix. All of the other ones serves exclusively as motivation for the lead male character. Trinity suffered from a strong start and then the film gave her nothing to do on the back half. Rita, on the other hand, was an active participant to the last.
That’s not even to agree that Fury Road is the feminist empowerment fantasy that so terrifies the men-dorks of the manosphere (even if, in its portrayals and performances, it contains more female agency than just about every prior post-apocalyptic movie put together). This is simply what happens when vanquishing irony is applied to sexist tropes that have outstayed their welcome. Its achievements in that regard will eventually be hard to spot, and it’ll still be a great film.
There is buzz around that the Men’s Rights Activists (who I have mixed feelings about) are up in arms about this movie, claiming that it’s shoving feminist ideologies down the throat of America. Well, actually, no. The nice thing about this movie is that the gender equality is present, but not, in any way, highlighted. The only reason it sticks out is that it’s so absent from the genre as a whole.
Tom Hardy also plays a very good Max. It’s nearly a silent role and the lines he has are muddy or mumbled. He’s crazy. He bumbles to success. And even though he is the titular character, he is barely a primary character in a story that belongs to Furiosa.
Mad Max: Fury Road is the best of the four Mad Max movies.